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Bundeshack: attackers compromised 17 computers in the Foreign Office

Friday, March 2nd, 2018 | bitcoin updates

    Hackers spare no effort to prepare digital burglaries.
                (Picture: dpa, Karl-Josef Hildenbrand / icon)


               Bundeshack: attackers compromised 17 computers in the Foreign Office



              Press reports stopped "Enlightenment work"

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             The spies sneaked into the State Department with their malware through the Federal Academy of Public Administration, where they brought 17 clients under their control. It is unclear how exactly they could gain admin rights there.


        After special sessions of several Bundestag committees on Friday, there is a bit more clarity as to how the attackers invaded the Foreign Office during the "federal hack". As representatives of the Ministry of the Interior and the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) in front of the deputies carried out, the data spies first hacked a web server of the Federal Academy of Public Administration (BAköV) in Brühl, which is connected to the government network information network Berlin-Bonn (IVBB) , With the help of a Trojan deposited there, they managed to hijack 17 computers in the Foreign Ministry.
The server at the federal college left the hackers after the original attack with a phishing mail largely intact, carried out there until January 2017, no further activities after they had deposited there the malware or the download source for it. It may have been Uroburo's espionage software, discovered by security experts at G Data 2014 and allegedly suggesting roots in Russian intelligence services. The program named after the "Urschlange" spreads independently in the infected networks. The rootkit consists of two files for 32- and 64-bit Windows systems with a driver and a data-fetching module.
Part of a worldwide attackThe malware got an external control order in January of last year and began to analyze the network and return information obtained. In March, the spies then managed to gain administrator rights to the affected clients in the Foreign Office, which until 2015 largely adopted by previously established Linux workstations and had carried out a possibly fateful back migration to Windows and Microsoft. One of the computers is said to have been used by a member of the Federal Ministry of Defense, who was then serving in the Foreign Ministry. The defense department was therefore not directly affected. The attack was, according to information from NDR, WDR and Süddeutsche Zeitung part of a worldwide hacker attack, the other countries to nibble.
It is still unclear how exactly the spies could compromise the systems of the Foreign Office. It may have been the latest security updates not installed or the users had too many rights. It is also conceivable to exploit a hitherto largely unknown security vulnerability in the form of a zero exploit. The latter would be "extremely dangerous," said the FDP network politician Manuel Höferlin opposite heise online, as this could affect all Windows machines. Unfortunately, the committee meetings were very narrow in terms of time, so that the deputies did not have enough opportunity to ask questions. The investigations would therefore have to be continued in the next week of the session in mid-March.
Note from foreign intelligenceThe information that the government network was hacked, received the German intelligence services to information of the rbb only on 19 December by a foreign partner. At the beginning of January, the BSI is said to have found what it is looking for at the University of Applied Sciences and discovered the way forward for the spies in mid-January. First, the property management of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was infected, followed by a paper on Russia. Only six documents have flowed out, some with references to Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. The attack on the university server was probably at the end of 2016. The hackers should have had enough time to look elsewhere and copy data.
In the Bundestag committee for traffic and digital infrastructure an emissary of the Ministry of the Interior explained that in the middle of January the findings condensed, before it could make first plans in the middle of February, in order to limit the attacker. At the same time, the authorities had gone to develop technical solutions that could stop and lock out the hackers and clean up the systems. They wanted to see how the opponent works, to make sure that he is not still hidden somewhere. Therefore, it had been decided to continue monitoring and not inform Parliament earlier.



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